Gigi’s Story – Rescued by Fletcher

Gigi FQWall

*The following is an individual’s story of surviving fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is not medical advice. Please see the disclaimer at the bottom of the story. Thank you, and please be cautious with all treatments. 

I just wanted to let everyone on this page know that I was also a victim of fluoroquinolone poisoning almost five years ago. This picture was taken about 6 months after I took Cipro. I was in awful pain in the picture and had to wear compression hose in order to walk short distances. I was going through complete hell, visiting numerous doctors and spending endless amounts of money with no answers …to why my body was withering away. The black dog in the picture is a rescue dog I adopted during this horrible ordeal. I named him Fletcher and concentrated on him instead of solely dwelling on my physical state. He was full of fear and needed me desperately. The little bit that I could give him during that time frame was enough to make him the amazing dog that he is today. He needed me but most of all I needed him. I really believe that once I adopted him I was able to heal more quickly. It’s been five years and I am finally almost fully recovered. I say almost because I do have some permanent damage in my ears and back. It was the worst couple years of my life but at the same time I found this doggy soulmate who now has a family who will move a mountain for him. Sometimes good things can come out of bad experiences. I wanted to share this with everyone going through the same thing. Never give up and if you don’t own an animal maybe you should think about adopting one. The love and healing you will get is priceless. It will help you get through this. Take care, Gigi


** The story above is truthful, accurate and told to the best of the ability of the writer. It is not intended as medical advice. No person who submits his or her story, nor the people associated with Floxie Hope, diagnoses or treats any illness. The story above should not be substituted for professionally provided medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying anything that has been mentioned in this story, or in any other story on this site. Please also note that people have varying responses to the treatments mentioned in each story. What helps one person may not help, and may even hurt, another person. It is important that you understand that supplements, IVs, essential oils, and all other treatments, effect people differently depending on the millions of variables that make each of us unique. Please use appropriate caution and prudence, and get professional medical advice.

29 thoughts on “Gigi’s Story – Rescued by Fletcher

  1. Staveren October 16, 2014 at 7:52 am Reply

    Aww! What a sweet sweet story. Hopefull too. Thank you for sharing ❤

  2. C October 16, 2014 at 8:01 am Reply

    Gigi! This is inspirational! I’m so glad you are back feeling well again. If you get a chance would you mind sharing with us your symptoms and recovery?

  3. Joseph Anatra October 16, 2014 at 9:02 am Reply

    Great Story! What kind of damage happened to your ears? I’m dealing with massive tinnitus for the last 17 months.

    • gigi byrne October 17, 2014 at 8:23 pm Reply

      I had fullness and clicking in my ears as well as noise sensitivity. I bought some drops for Patulous ear disease and it helped somewhat.

  4. Laura October 16, 2014 at 9:03 am Reply

    Thank you Gigi! That is a wonderful story. Can you tell me about the trouble with your ears? I have trouble with mine too and I’m 8 years out. Please avoid loud places (no shooting ranges!) and wear hearing strong hearing protection if you do. I learned that lesson the hard way.

  5. Charles Tooraen October 16, 2014 at 9:18 am Reply

    Animals are a blessing. They help us in so many ways. 🙂 Glad to hear you are doing better!

    • gigi byrne October 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm Reply

      Thank you! Animals are wonderful…

  6. MaryAnn Drella October 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm Reply

    I’m very happy for you, that you are healed. I am only in 3 months from Levafloavin. Animals are amazing and my black lab in my life saver (who also is a rescue). So besides your beautiful dog, what else did you do???!!! I will only take Naproxen and Tylenol for pain, which is only slightly helping, sometimes. I am taking assorted antioxidents. I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE AANNYY INFO THAT COULD HELP. XO

    • Ruth Young November 11, 2014 at 5:51 am Reply

      Naproxen is an NSAID. It’s also pretty ototoxic. Tylenol, though hard on the liver, is ok for floxies to take. Maybe other people on here have some natural remedies for pain that they’ve used.

    • Cindy October 15, 2016 at 3:17 pm Reply

      Hi I would avoid naproxyn as it is an NSAID and tylenol is hepatic toxic. Have you tried a TENs machine?

  7. Serrah October 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm Reply

    Wonderful, Gigi! Thank you! You’re beautiful smile shows your great spirit even throught the pain!

    • gigi byrne October 17, 2014 at 8:19 pm Reply

      Thank you, but that was my pain face. I did try to keep my spirits up as much as I could but the journey was tuff. Hang in there and be strong.

  8. Rose Casanova October 21, 2014 at 11:50 am Reply

    Thank you Gigi for sharing your story. I believe in the power of pets. Seeing my animals thrive helps me thrive.

  9. Ruth Young November 11, 2014 at 5:59 am Reply

    Great story, Gigi! My black cat Monty has definitely helped me get well. As a semi-feral cat he’s always been independent. Our relationship is largely based on my feeding him. (He was starving when I caught him.) But when I was terribly ill from taking Cipro, he stayed right by me for whole days, although he never does that. It’s like he knew.

    After I was somewhat better but still sick he would listen to music with me. I put on classical music to try to help myself feel less agitated and to relax. Monty prefers Mozart to Beethoven and orchestral music to piano selections.

    He has a cat highway built in our back room, with bridges and perches suspended from the ceiling. He will run up there and get comfy, but will sit up and look down on me as I change the record or CD. As soon as the music starts he curls up again. If it’s piano music he may come down and put a paw on my arm and meow. Then I change the music to something orchestral and he runs back up to his spot. Sometimes we compromise with a piano concerto.

  10. tricia April 18, 2015 at 6:42 pm Reply

    Hi Gigi…great story!! I’m so happy you came out on the other side! I’m 6 months out from levaquin, definitely not going well for me. I’m waiting for my symptoms to hopefully stabilize. Did your symptoms appear immediately or did you get worse over time, and then recover?

  11. Aidan Walsh April 20, 2015 at 2:06 am Reply

    Sounds like all of you here are suffering from undiagnosed Ehlers Danlos Syndrome the most undiagnosed disease on the Planet numerous types different symptoms in different people…

    • Lisa Bloomquist April 20, 2015 at 5:47 am Reply

      I don’t think so. Fluoroquinolones have been shown to be extremely harmful to cells and I think that people on here are suffering from exactly what they think they’re suffering from – fluoroquinolone toxicity. Also, most people don’t have hypermobility before or after they get floxed. Mobility actually declines markedly.

      People who do have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome should NEVER take fluoroquinolones. This post is written by a friend with EDS who got floxed on top of it –

      • Lucy Sky January 4, 2016 at 5:52 pm Reply

        I agree with every word you have posted.

      • tony May 3, 2016 at 6:35 pm Reply

        NOBODY should EVER take this poison
        i was floxed with 2 cipo 500 pills in late december for diveriticulitis, and i knew right away something was horribly wrong an hour after the 2nd dose ,i felt the effects immediately, like it was damaging my brain,my brain felt like it was on fire
        i got an intense metallic taste in my mouth that lasted for 2 months straight and still comes and goes 5 months out now,intense tinnitus which has never gone away to this day,chest pains, heart racing and palpitations,extreme anxiety feeling ,night terrors,
        i did not sleep at all for a month,i was awake for 30 consecutive days with not even an hour of sleep,i had convulsions for days and then every night again at every attempt to sleep,violent shaking and twitching for over a month ,severe cognitive reduction, i could not even watch tv for the 1st month,no concentration ,burning and tingling skin in my face arms and legs
        5 moths out and i still have insomnia,and non restorative sleep ,wake up several times a night with tachycardia and painful erections ,every time i sleep without fail i get painful erection and a lot of the time it;s accompanied by tachycardia
        also fevers and hypothermic alternations, bad joint pain in knees and elbow, and colitis ,i lost almost 40lbs in the 1st 2 months and still dropping ,down to little over 130 now
        been to several specialists, neurologist and they totally ignore all reports of my symptoms , the description is met with blank stares and dead silence

        • Ruth Young May 4, 2016 at 3:29 am

          So sorry to hear of your horrific reaction. I had a similar experience though not as intense as yours. At two years and three months out I am almost totally healed. Maybe I am all the way there and what remains is due to menopause, normal aging and being too sedentary. Sometimes I am convinced that I am actually healthier than preflox as I have some very good days, but I have downturns as well, so I am not sure. At any rate I lead a completely normal life for a middle aged person.

          I think it is highly possible that within 18-36 months you will find yourself nearly healed also. All your symptoms are consistent with damage to GABA-a receptors. FQ’s can damage receptors for the calming neurotransmitter gamma amino butyric acid, especially in those sensitive to this effect. If taken with NSAID’s like Ibuprofen or Alleve their ability to damage these receptors is increased 20,000 times, although there are some people who can take FQ’s with NSAID’s without a problem. Universally, people who are dependent on benzodiazepines cannot take fluoroquinolones at all. The FQ displaces the Benzo from the binding site on the GABA-a receptors and they immediately go into protracted Benzo withdrawal, which can include all the symptoms you mentioned. This is because their receptors for GABA already were downgraded from exposure to the benzodiazepine. Benzos include drugs like Ativan, Klonopin or Valium. You can check out sites like Benzo buddies and you will find many stories similar to your own from people attempting to discontinue those medications.

          Researchers have found that if we lose 35% of our GABA receptors a seizure is likely. If we lose much more than that we will convulse and die. They found this out by giving mice Cipro and an NSAID. Yet doctors will routinely give that exact combination, sometimes by IV. Elderly patients have convulsed and died in that situation and though the doctors just replicated that horrific experiment with the mice they are not held accountable.

          The neurologists you have seen know the effects of damaged GABA receptors. They also know that aside from a head injury, the only way that usually happens is from a medication injury. Since you didn’t hit your head they’d have to admit it was the medication and they are unwilling to do that.

          We have GABA receptors all over our bodies, so when they get damaged we get systemic symptoms. It is when the receptors are being upgraded that we are symptomatic. Eventually you will start to get normal windows and those are really nice, but little healing is happening during those times. When you really feel awful and can’t relax is when neural plasticity is at work– your body is rebuilding those receptors at that time.

          That you have had such constant and severe symptoms suggests to me that you had significant damage to those receptors– damage that could easily have been life threatening. But you are here, you are alive. In hell at the moment, but alive. I believe that if you can continue to hang in there you have a good chance of complete recovery, or at least to the point that symptoms are annoying but not debilitating.

          Once our body gets enough GABA receptors repaired that we are not in danger of seizing or convulsing, repair to those receptors slows down. You get more times where you feel pretty well, but you get downturns too, which can be demoralizing. To get to being 100% symptom free all the time can take years. I believe that if other things are an issue, like vitamin or mineral deficiencies, oxidative stress, loss of healthy gut flora or anything else that is not in balance the body, then your body puts repair of GABA receptors almost on hold.

          I had my worst GABA related symptoms beginning at 2 1/2 months out because prior to that my body had been so stripped of functional minerals and antioxidants that it was not able to tackle GABA receptors beyond that initial healing in my first couple weeks. I thought at three weeks I was home free and getting better because the insomnia and agitation seemed to get better. My body made enough repairs to stop me from dying but then stopped until I gave it what it needed to heal.

          My guess is you were very healthy when this happened so your body could tackle the GABA receptor damage immediately and hit it hard and continue hitting it hard. You also probably had significant loss of receptors.

          These are all just theories and there are multiple ways FQ’s can harm mammalian cells. But your symptoms are in line with the autonomic nervous system damage that comes from loss of GABA-a receptors and the fact that they are improving somewhat is encouraging. I also prefer the GABA explanation for my own symptoms because that type of damage heals. It takes its sweet time doing it, but it heals. So don’t give up hope.

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  13. Cindy October 15, 2016 at 3:26 pm Reply

    This is in reply to ruth Young. I have only just read your very interesting informative posting on the damage to GABA receptors by drugs.
    I assume that if one is taking benzos then the damage will continue?
    How did u recover?

    • Ruth Young October 16, 2016 at 6:31 pm Reply

      Not everyone taking an FQ has damage to GABA receptors. Even some who took an NSAID with an FQ do not. And some people can be on benzodiazepines for years and walk away without any withdrawal symptoms. But for those of us sensitive to medications that affect GABA receptors it is often nothing short of a field trip to hell when our receptors are compromised.

      However, we have neural plasticity. If our receptors were inactivated in response to a medication we took they can also reactivated or replaced. We need to be careful to be sending our bodies signals that we want those receptors for calming gamma amino butyric acid replaced. We need to keep telling our body and brain that our parasympathetic nervous system is needed.

      I healed, in part, because I didn’t panic. Well, everybody who gets floxed panics at some point– but I did not stay in a state of panic.

      Dr. Whitcomb told me not to take the Benzo my doctor prescribed. He called it a bad actor. I do believe it would have slowed my healing. I would eventually have had to taper off it and that would have taken a long time. Some Floxies go that route though and it is certainly possible to taper off slowly and allow your nervous system to adapt to functioning without the Benzo. For myself, I am glad I steered clear.

      I spent a lot of time working at relaxing. I say working at it because relaxing is the last thing my body wanted to do. Relaxing flared my symptoms and caused me intense pain, fear, heart palpitations– during a flare it was actually impossible to relax, much less sleep. During those times I would relax just as much as I could without flaring things and I learned to hold it about there. When I got a normal window or I was not flaring as bad I worked at relaxing very deeply through meditation and listening to music.

      I made the futon in our back room (and later a quilt on the back porch) be my safe zones. So long as I was relaxing there nothing could hurt me, no new symptoms could alarm me– I had to believe calmly that I would heal. I pictured the futon as a boat on a raging sea. So long as I was there I was safe, and my worries and fears were that raging sea but I did not need to step into them. I could stay on my safe life raft.

      I have a pretty active imagination. I think that helped. I coped by creating my own reality. I coped by believing I would still have a good life and that my nervous system would heal.

      It was touch and go with other things– like my right ankle, my Achilles’ tendons, the extreme fatigue that would come upon me without warning… I did not know what my body would be able to do moving forward. But I focused on whatever I had, not on what I had lost. If I couldn’t hike the Baraboo bluffs again I could still sit on a sand bar on the Wisconsin River. I pictured that river a lot in my mind, the waters brown from the roots of Tamarack trees, the layered sandstone, the dangerous swirling currents. It was winter when I got floxed and I promised myself I would go to the river in the summer even if I had to limp down to the beach and all I could do was sit on the sand.

      I pictured how that sand would feel– it is a coarse sand filled with little colored stones. I resolved to find whatever beauty, whatever joy, whatever good thing I could In my life for the rest of my life. For a long time I could not actually feel joy– my emotions were stunted and dead. And yet I would focus on things that I knew should bring me joy even though I had to fake the joy because I could not feel it.

      Sometimes I would try to locate one part of my body that felt OK and did not have pain and I would focus on that.

      I also exercised when I was finally able to. My tendons did heal pretty well and the fatigue lessened so when I could I became active again. Exercise has been shown to increase the number of GABA receptors we have.

      After I started a micronized purple rice supplement I had a brief relapse and then a normal window that was so normal it made me cry with joy. I think it is because the rice is highly nutritious and milled very small so it can get into even damaged cells. You don’t have to take that same supplement but getting adequate nutrition will allow for more healing. If you are interested it is mentioned in my story on this site in more detail.

      I recently added frequency specific microcurrent. Supposedly that can help upgrade GABA receptors. It seems to have helped me reduce flox symptoms I perceive to be GABA related such as diffuse burning sensations and feelings of anxiety when I am not actually anxious about anything. Those two symptoms have decreased since adding FSM, but the day of a treatment sometimes they actually come on stronger. Later I feel much better and relief from the symptoms is long lasting.

      I have also added colostrum from Sovereign Laboratories. It has a liposomal delivery. It seems to be very effective. Not only have I had improved sleep and a decrease in the aforementioned symptoms, I haven’t been sick once since I started with it last March.

      I think the best way to heal GABA receptors is to avoid things known to downgrade them– Benzos, NSAID’s if you have taken an FQ (they do not have to be taken at the same time to do harm) and alcohol. Alcohol affects GABA B receptors but because of cross tolerance it can make you feel intensified symptoms. Some Floxies do not have an issue with it. It does not affect GABA A so it may be helpful for you. But if it flares things that can be upsetting and you want to avoid those kinds of upsets if you can.

      Being patient, giving it time, and doing everything you can to communicate to your body that you need “rest and digest” back online instead of “fight or flight” will help you. Those things will help even if the issue is not downgraded GABA receptors! Supporting your body is also key as you won’t likely heal all your GABA receptor damage until other issues are resolved, especially nutritional deficiencies.

      So that is my two cents on the issue. If you do decide to use Benzos to help in your recovery journey I just learned that short acting ones that you take more than once a day are the worst for wiping out GABA receptors. Older ones like Valium tend to be safer. Avoid ones like Ativan. (I never took a Benzo so that advice is from a different floxie who has experience with benzodiazepines.)

      Hope that helps! Hang in there!

      • Ramon March 20, 2019 at 4:29 pm Reply

        Hi Ruth how are you these days ? Question did you have severe severe terrivle weakness? I have that and I have bad brain fog and depersonalization . All of the days are passing by in a blur and I don’t recognize myself in the mirror. Does that leave ? Please share if you had this . Another recovered floxie told me those symptoms I described leave for everyone but at a different speed pace etc. thanks

        • Ruth Young March 21, 2019 at 1:32 pm

          Hi Ramon,
          I had everything you mention. I was so weakened it is shocking to think back on it now. I also had that where I did not recognize myself in the mirror or I would feel like I was outside of my own body, sitting next to myself. That was freaky. That all ended fairly early on— I am five years out now.

          It is no use asking my time line because everyone is different. And the memory of it fades, which I suppose is a blessing. But it did all go away. Some of the changes as I was being restored to myself were subtle, while others happened fairly quickly, with symptoms never returning. Any lingering issues I have now are within the realm of normal aging, of menopause or simply the result of having lived through an absolutely horrific experience and then taking a job at three years out that was way too stressful. Still reeling a bit from that but I am finding my footing again. My normal emotions are definitely back now and my ability to process things is normal.

          I can write in my journal again and it feels normal— concentrating on writing used to flare me. My response to stimulation is normal now. I just feel like I am back, all the way back in the normal every day world. Driving to work is relaxing to me now. It used to be so hard to drive— I had to take deep breaths constantly to calm everything down. I am light years from that now.

          I am strong again too. The gym teacher at the school where I teach has this huge rope net that hangs from the ceiling but is not attached at the bottom. Basically, he can have like five kids at once be climbing up rope ladders. Last year I could go up about four rungs but it was really hard and I was sore for days. This year I went up five and I was not sore and it did not feel all that hard. I can feel the change in body composition when I touch my body. I was atrophied before, but I have nice muscle definition now.

          If I did not know I had been floxed I would not be able to figure it out from any symptom I have now. I not only feel normal most of the time, I frequently feel better than I did just prior to getting floxed. I have work left to do picking up the pieces of who I was emotionally. Hard to explain. I feel a bit shell shocked. But I am getting there. I have the capacity to work through it now. I did not before. I am who I used to be now. I can relax, enjoy beauty, enjoy making music, go workout or take a nap and just feel like me. The challenge is to keep foocusing on what is going well. It was a long hard road. But it feels like I may soon be able to say I made it all the way back home.

      • Mike June 16, 2019 at 6:17 pm Reply

        Hey Ruth,

        Is it possible to chat? I’d love to speak more to you about my current floxing experience.


        • Ruth Young June 18, 2019 at 3:27 am

          Lisa has my email and will give it to you or you can find me on Facebook and we can communicate via Messenger. Whatever is most convenient for you. You can actually call someone through Messenger and it is a free call— I talked to a floxie in Spain that way the other day and the quality of the call was not too bad.

  14. Bet March 9, 2018 at 12:50 am Reply

    Hi Gigi…..I’m 8 mounths out of Cipro and my big problem is an orrible leg pain…I can’t walk……any advice?thank you so much

  15. […] Gigi’s Story – Rescued by Fletcher […]

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